Even though coffee cultivation was started by the British on a large scale, nobody knows when coffee first came to Sri Lanka. Some say it was the Arabs who first introduced coffee to Sri Lanka.
Nonetheless we can assume that the plant had existed from time immemorial on
the island. But the locals were not aware of the value of its berries, and
just used its leaves to add flavor to their curries, and its blooms to offer to the Gods in their sanctuaries. It was the
Dutch that endeavored to develop it as a money making business. Coffee cultivation became a success in the island and it was better in
quality than the Coffee of Java or any other country. But the Dutch could not or were not interested in making ceylon coffee famous in the world market and after some time they lost interest in it.
It was the English who came to the island after the Dutch that tried and took coffee into a whole new level. They effectively popularized coffee as the first fruitful
fare crop from Sri Lanka. Not to mention they made a lot of profit from the sale of coffee.
Nevertheless, like all good things must come to an end, coffee also came to an end. It was not long after that the British started making good money through the coffee sale that it got infected by a very dangerous pest. This pest destroyed many coffee trees in the island. Eventually the British had to abandon coffee cultivation in Sri Lanka.